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Let’s talk about stamps through the longest possible microphone

Screenshot: "Boompole Guy: Stamp Convention"
Screenshot: "Boompole Guy: Stamp Convention"
(Screengrab: Match Game)

Back in the 1970s, genial Match Game host Gene Rayburn became famous for having the longest microphone in the business, an ungainly, antenna-like apparatus that he sometimes wielded like a broadsword. But even Rayburn had nothing on Luke Mones of the four-person Skootch Comedy troupe. Occasionally, Skootch dispatches Mones to public places, where he attempts to interview unsuspecting citizens via a boom mic. Yes, that’s a microphone at the end of a pole several feet in length. Generally, Mones stands a good distance away from his interview subjects and then waves the microphone in their direction somewhat haphazardly. How well does this technique work? Not well at all, and that’s the whole point. If Rayburn’s microphone was a broadsword, Mones’ is a spear. Though the young comedian’s demeanor is always friendly and upbeat, the would-be interviewees are wary of the boom mic and generally give brief, hurried answers to Mones’ questions. Mones tried out his “Boompole Guy” routine at the recently concluded World Stamp Show in New York City.

Asked about his motivations behind the video, Mones told The A.V. Club: “I guess I would say these are people who spend $20,000 on a single stamp and I think the only reasonable way to speak with them is with a giant boompole.”

The mood at the stamp convention seems incredibly subdued, perhaps oppressively so. Visitors look at wall after wall of similar-looking displays while muttering softly to one another. Vendors sell their wares from behind glass display cases. It’s all very polite. And then along comes “human stick bug” Mones with his terrifying, privacy-invading microphone. “Did you make some good finds today?” he asks a convention goer, only to received a raised hand in response. Maybe music will work, Mones reasons, so he improvises a little “I Love Stamps” song and serenades several people with it.

For people at a stamp convention, the attendees here don’t seem that fervent about the topic at all. “Why do you think stamps are important for our culture and for our society?” Mones asks one distinguished gentleman. “I’m not so certain that they are.” So much for investigative journalism.

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